toni tonight on "nightline," the super couponers. all of this for $50? meet the masters in the world of extreme coupon clipping, and they're saving thousands. can their tips help your family do the same? miracle fruit. everyone is talking about the acai berry. even oprah and dr. oz. but can this so-called super fruit really help you lose weight or even cure cancer? or is purple gold just a marketing illusion? plus, war of the rodents.
it's the american gray versus the british red. squirrel for supper is tonight's "sign of the times." >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," march 25th, 2010. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. we begin tonight with a story about a couple of people on a money-saving mission. a pair of bargain hunters who practice what you might call extreme thrift. their weapon of choice? old fashioned coupons. man, do they know how to use them. these days, every american family is on a budget, looking to stretch every dollar as far as possible. well, if you follow even some of these tips, you'll be on the road to savings. in fact, you can almost shop for free, as john donvan now reports. >> reporter: there is, on our planet, shopping.
and there is bargain shopping. and there is bargain shopping with coupon. but then there is extreme couponing. a kind of shopping so extreme it's like some other world. >> this was free, that pianos, free, razors, free. toothpaste free constantly. baby wipes were free. all the little soaps are free. >> reporter: a world that has its own celebry tirs. two of whom we went to meet to learn the secrets of this kind of couponing to learn why they call it extreme, and, oh, look at this. at the home of one of our celebrities, 28-year-old nathan of villa hills, kentucky, the driveway has been dressed up to welcome us with jell-o boxes. hundreds of jell-o boxes. a quantity that echoes all over his garage, where he keeps an astonishing quantity the booty of his extreme couponing ways. the shelves of shampoo, the freezers full of veggies, and
oh, the toilet paper. when did you put this together? >> the last time i purchased toilet paper was in 2007. >> reporter: what did this cost you? >> $30. >> reporter: wow. and nathan got this stuff, all of it, spending almost no money, because his couponing skills, they are so extreme, but let's be gentle with that word. >> you watch the hoarder shows and -- >> you don't want people to think you're crazy. >> right. because we're not. >> reporter: so, that is nathan who runs a website called we use coupons.com. so, now, our other celeb, is she right outside chicago. >> my name is jill, and i am a super couponer. >> reporter: jill teaches coupon classes. >> there can be three or four in your sunday paper. >> reporter: and writes a col n column, a kind of dear abby with coupons. >> everything, pets, child and
diapers, everything, $40 a week. >> reporter: so see how is works and see who is really best at making coupons go far, we set up a little contest. who could make $50 go further buying groceries. chica jill in chicago or nathan in kentucky, and they're off. here's your money. 20, 40, 10. $50. >> well, here is the money "nightline" gave me for the day, so, let's go see what we can do. >> reporter: jill heads to her favorite store. nathan doesn't waste any time, and already, he has a bit of a swagger. >> our plan is that this doesn't really matter. we don't care about the tuna in this instance, because we're getting it for free and going to make a little money. >> reporter: nathan's first tip, try to get the manufacturer to pay you to take stuff out of the store. this load of tuna in the carriage is worth money. how much? >> $30. >> reporter: using double coupons on the tuna, which is
also on sale makes it freeand because the store is running another promotion on top of that, he's actually making money here. >> we gave you $50. this is going to make you $30. so, you are already -- you have $80 to spend. you are way beyond what we gave you. >> right. >> reporter: do we get the $30 back? >> there's a good time and a bad i compare it to poker. playing the card at the right time. >> reporter: now jill. she finds out about and shares information on a lot of deems from her website, which is somewhat like nathans. it links them both to a nationwide network of supermarket intelligence, posting the deals happening where. >> a lot of times people will say, hey, look out for this coupon, i saw it at our store. we talked about the butter coupon. i knew it was going to be there before i walked in. >> reporter: and that's really it. the internet has changed the game and made this new breed of couponers possible.
>> locally, i am a little shopping celebrity. >> reporter: heading over to the produce aisle, jill shares her first tip. don't fall for the myth that coupons only go for junk food. jill got this broccoli for less than $1.50. >> it's on sale. it's organic. coupon. >> reporter: over in kentucky, nathan has dumped cereal into his cart. but he still hasn't started spending our 50 bucks. how much of our abc money have you spent so far? >> none. >> reporter: meaning what? >> meaning if i were to check out right now -- >> reporter: you would walk out of here. >> spending a penny or two. >> reporter: as the cart times up, nathan shares his second tip. if the store is out of something, go ask for a rain check. >> say this was on sale and there's none left and somebody had just wiped it all out. well -- >> reporter: that would be rude. >> it would be. >> reporter: you want the stuff, so, what do you do? >> we go to the service desk and get a rain check what the rain
check is, it extends the sale price of the item for 30 days. >> at this point, we really have just started my shopping trip would coupons, what's in the cart right now is already over $50. it doesn't look like a lot of stuf >> reporter: another way jill saves so much is with catalina coupons. the ones that print out of a special machine at the register. they are just like cash. >> if it seems like i'm buying a lot, it's because i am. it's on sale for $1.50 a box, there's another deal on this, when you buy five, you get $4 back. so, that's six back with coupons, going to cost me less than $6, so, i'm going to get paid to take this home today. >> reporter: back in kroger, i get a new cart since nathan's first one is full. one thing becomes clear about this guy when you're shopping with him, he is a math genius. >> that one is $1 off, so, instead -- i'm prepared in knowing that's not going to be $1.17, it's going to be 67 cents for me because i'm prepared. >> reporter: by the way, he still has not actually started spending our $50.
>> still making $7. >> reporter: you haven't spent the $50? >> not yet. >> right now, if i bought these without coupons, we are under $90. >> skril has been spending our money. but it's clear she has a different philosophy from nathan. if you look in her cart, she isn't just taking what she can get for the sake of getting it, her cart looks like, well, mine might look. >> i'm going to pay pennies for these. >> reporter: the carts are full, as they reach the finish line. the checkout. the results? >> well, precoupon, at 118. $84. the goal is to cut this little more than half and i'm very sure we can can do that today. >> reporter: and she does. after all her coupons are scanned in, 50.$50.61 for all t. >> yi can pay 61 cents of my ow money for these today. >> reporter: and don't forget about these catalinas. >> actually, only paid $30.61 for these groceries and i got $20 back for my next shopping trip. >> reporter: can nathan top this? let's see.
how much of our money do you give us back? >> about $20. so -- >> reporter: wow. $50, a clever calculated collection of coupons, brought this back for $30? >> yeah, 30 bucks. >> reporter: wow. >> retail, about $500. >> not bad. this may seem like it's just a game, those little pieces of paper are pretty powerful. so, do not underestimate your sunday newspaper -- >> i see sunday morning as someone throwing 100 bucks at the end of my driveway and i'm the first to go get it. that is real money. i'm not going to leave it there. >> reporter: and clip wisely. >> people that sort of clip their coupons and stroll true the aisle, they're going to save, but not really make a huge differences on their budget. >> reporter: do you need that much jell-o? >> i don't. but it makes a great abc logo. >> reporter: it's not bad. i'm john donvan for "nightline." >> that is a great logo, and a lot of jell-o. eat tips there, too. thanks to john donvan for that. when we come back, from super couponers, to a so-called
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thanks for your help. a product failing to live up to an advertised promise is no new phenomenon. these days, everyone is talking about acai, a fruit believers call a super food. why? because they say it does just about everything, helping some people lose weighteven fighting cancer for others. well, it's time to put these claims to the test, and that's
exactly what jeffrey kofman set out to do. >> call the number on your screen now. >> the latest all natural break through. >> organic berries. >> reporter: you've probably seen it on tv or in your super market, and almost certainly on the internet. it's the so-called miracle fruit from the amazon. it is called acai. it has been championed by no less than oprah and dr. oz. >> this is called acai. take a sip what do you think? >> reporter: who called it the world's number one super food. >> very, very powerful. it has twice the antioxidant content as a blueberry. >> reporter: in the u.s., acai is being pitched by some as much more than that. the internet is filled with websites promoting acai pills for miracle weight loss. others say it can added push to your sexual potency. maybe even cure cancer or alzheimer's. can one obscure fruit really be this good? we travel told the source, the amazon region of brazil. we went upriver with one of the
biggest acai producers in the amazon, and a true believer. which one are the acai? >> the skinny palms. and the black fruit there is the acai. >> reporter: what we saw along the amazon was unforgettable. grown men shimmying up huge palm trees in search 0 what has become the most sought after new food in the world. can i taste it? >> try to bite. too hard. >> reporter: it's like a rock. where is the fruit? >> actually, you need to take off the skin, you know. and the skin we make the pure ray or the pulp. we mix with water. >> reporter: you don't eat acai, you drink it. what we quickly learned is that the juice is not knew to the people who live in the villages and cities of the amazon. we saw the signature red flag of an acai stand on almost every corner. you think, is it good for you? "yes," says this student. it's as good as a meal." it is athletes in brazil who
helped turn acai into a sensation across brazil, and now around the world. we stopped by this very humble gym in the amazon city of bay lynn. how manyf you drink acai before or after you drtrain? if you took none of it tomorrow, you think it would make a difference? "i'd fall asleep," he says. the little fruit was introduced to many americans by oprah winfrey and dr. mehmet oz who promoted it. >> acai. >> okay. >> reporter: they didn't claim miracles, but called it a super food. that is not a scientific food, but a term scan artists on the internet seized, taking images of the tv duo without permission to promote acai weight loss supplements. >> if you see my picture next to something that is being sold as a supplement, i did not endorse it.
i have no relationships at all with these companies. >> reporter: oprah and dr. oz have filed lawsuitagainst 40 internet marketing companies for deceptive practices. meanwhile, attorneys general across the u.s. have filed suit against other acai marketers who claim it can cure cancer, alzheimer's or heart disease. to separate fact from fiction, we spoke to some of the top food scientists in the u.s. >> it's not a miracle berry, unfortunately. >> reporter: husband and wife steve and susan at texas a&m. they say the studies are not complete, but what scientists are finding is that acai does have extraordinarily high levels of antioxidants that combat aging and heart disease. but -- >> the bottom line with acai is that it is a fruit. it's not a drug. you shouldn't consume it as a dr drug. >> reporter: not a drug. no scientific evidence that it cures cancer or alzheimer's. and weight loss? >> currently, there is no direct
evidence, scientific evidence that acai has any weight loss properties. >> the problem we have again is that the marketing hype surrounding acai seems to have surpassed the science. >> reporter: according to scientists, acai has the same healthy properties as other dark fruits like blueberries or red grapes. and the professor believes we're going to see a lot more acai in our lives. >> you're going to see it in cosmetics, in beverages, in supplements. if you think it's crazy now from a marketing perspective, i think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg. >> reporter: in the u.s., the controversy has given acai a bad name. but in the amazon, exploding demand for the little fruit has brought jobs and prosperity to a remote region that has had little of either. by some estimates, 40,000 people in this region now make a living from acai. and it's also giving people a reason not to cut down the rain forest. to quench the massive this for acai around the world, shiny new
processing plants are popping up along the amazon. this one built by montero. how much has your production grown? >> oh, i think we double every year. >> reporter: they fill 10 to 15 shipping con tainters with the concentrate each week. much of it now headed to the u.s. market. this is all frozen acai? >> all frozen acai. here, everything is already done. just wait for correct moment to go to u.s., to rio, whatever. >> reporter: man, a lot of it in here. >> yes. >> reporter: and these purple drums -- this is your trademark? >> yes. i love the purple. it's the royal color here. >> reporter: the purple gold. but is it fool's gold? producers here in the amazon worry that the marketing scams in the u.s. have given acai a bad name before people can understand how good it really is. i'm jeffry kofman for
"nightline" in bay lynn, brazil. >> well what's in a fruit? thanks to jeffrey kofman for that. and when we come back, it's a war against rodents. gray colts versus red coats. we're going squirrel hunting in tonight's "sign of the times." so, let'so, d? so, doctor... i've been thinking... no. you know how... no. so, doc, i've got this friend... [ male announcer ] talking to your doctor about erectile dysfunction isn't easy. actually, doc, there is something i want to talk to you about. [ male announcer ] but it's definitely a conversation worth having. twenty million men have had their viagra talk. when you're ready for yours, visit viagra.com for helpful conversation starters and to learn how viagra can help. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. don't take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects may include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran. >> you know, there's no accounting for taste. and there's no accounting for what are considered delicacies in different parts of the world. but squirrel? this common rodent is showing up on menus in england, and it's pretty nice restaurants, too. why, you ask?
well, it a story as old as the revolutionary world. and for nick watt, squirrel for supper, that is a "sign of the times." >> reporter: simmering on the stove at a restaurant in london, squirrel. >> streak of gray and a cheerful -- >> reporter: like bullwinkle's little friend rocky? i'm afraid so. >> the flesh is almost got a slightly kind of richer quality than a rabbit. rabbit can be quite dry. >> reporter: a little bit of bacon, a splash of wine, mushroom and a skinny wee carcass of a gray squirrel. 28 bucks a plate. thank you very much. what's going on? why are the brits eating sweet little squirrels? here's the deal. back in the 1860s, red squirrels hopped all over britain. then, in the 1870s, someone introduced their bigger, gray
cousins from america. slow and steady advance. the grays carry a virus they're immune to, but kills the reds. they're voracious and aggressive. scotland is holding out, but in england, the red is almost vanquished. the eco movement has rallied behind the red. oufuture king has stepped up. >> i hope today will be the beginning of the coordinated fight-back on behalf of our precious and very british red squirrel. in the face of the relentless march across the country of the pernicious grays. >> reporter: like any campaign, there are slogans like, save a red, eat a gray. so, that's what us brits are doing. you can call me a barbarian, but i think that is delicious. and there are two good things about this meal. it tastes great, and, i'm
helping the poor endangered red squirrel by eating his enemy. the daserd thely gray eating a squirrel is one thing. killing one, quite another. meet ben law. woodsman, ecologist, squirrel hunter. he kills and eements about 150 of little suckers every year. they're destroying the trees he grows to make furniture and charcoal. >> an active population can wipe up my livelihood in a very short period of time. >> reporter: do the red kwirls not cause this damage? >> they don't. they don't have the same aggressive nature. >> reporter: i channel my aggressive nature and after a long, cold hunt, kill. >> there he is. there he is. keep your eyes on him the whole way. keep your eyes on him. >> reporter: ben demonizing the squirrel to asaj my guilt.
>> almost fangs, aren't they? get one of those around your finger, you'd ow about it. >> reporter: better him than me. let's best him in olive oil and stick him in the fire. it's doubtful that a few guys with bb guns and appetites will wipe the grapes from our land. >> pretty good, huh? >> reporter: that's delicious. but when my nation call us, i'll do my best. i probably need a couple of them to -- to be full. i'm nick watt for "nightline" in england. >> nick watt taking on the gray squirrel for queen and country. thanks to him for that. when we come back, tonight's closing argument. but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next on "jimmy kimmel live." >> jimmy: thanks, terry. on the show tonight, preers brosnan, craig robinson and sarah